This is NEPCA's official website, containing both information about the organization and the latest news about the profession.

2014 NEPCA Conference

Proposals are now being accepted for NEPCA's 2014 conference at Providence College, which convenes October 24-25. 2014. Click on FALL CONFERENCE tab for full information. Scroll down to "How Do I Submit a Proposal"

Rollins Prize

NEPCA is now accepting nominations from publishers for the best work in popular and/or American culture published in 2102. Click on the NEPCA Prizes tab above for details.

Important Dates

June 1: Books to be considered for the Rollins Prize must be received by this date.

June 13: Last day to submit conference paper proposals.

July 31: Last day to submit items for NEPCA News.

August 30: Lat day for pre-registrants to be listed in program.

October 10: Last day mail-in registrations can be processed in time for the conference.

October 24-25: 2014 Fall Conference.

NEPCA’s 2014Fall Conference

NEPCA will meet on the campus of Providence College in Providence, RI October 24-25, 2014.

For conference information, click on the FALL CONFERENCE tab above. This will take you to a page where you find all the materials you need. Scroll down to “How Do I Submit a Proposal?”  

The Civil War in 50 Objects


The Civil War in 50 Objects. By Harold Holzer and the New-York Historical Society. New York: Viking, 2013.

In a fascinating 9781101613115_p0_v1_s260x420departure from the usual narrative accounts of Civil War history, Harold Holzer has assembled a text in which sundry stories are told using—as points of reference—physical artifacts from the era. Holzer, a Fellow of the New-York Historical Society, author of many books, and winner of a 2008 National Humanities Medal, does a masterful job of recounting details about each object and connecting them to the people and places of the time.

Possibly this refreshing method arises from Holzer’s background; he is not a professional historian, but an avid writer and researcher who has done most of his work on Abraham Lincoln. His approach will no doubt find ready approval among scholars working on popular culture, since it engages localized knowledge about individual relics that evoke particular societal and cultural implications. A partial list includes slave manacles designed for the small wrists of children, Eastman Johnson’s 1859 painting Negro Life at the South, a bronze cast of Lincoln’s right hand, a Confederate “Palmetto” flag, a recruiting poster for the 36th Regiment of the New York Volunteers, a fashionable “Zouave” uniform, a battlefield snare drum used by Union drummer boy Philip Corel, a wooden rotating“draft wheel” used to shuffle draft cards prior to drawing names, a Bible from the ruins of The Colored Orphan Asylum, a Union officer’s footlocker (complete with personal items), a ticket to the New York Metropolitan World’s Fair of 1864, and a propagandistic anti-emancipation lithograph from The New York World entitled The Miscegenation Ball. This last artifact depicts the “horror” of blacks and whites dancing together.

The way the book is organized, of course, leaves Holzer open to criticism about his choices for the top fifty items. Most such criticism would be finicky, but there is perhaps one area that might have been more thoroughly represented, given that this is a book about a war: firearms. The only actual weapon in the book is one of John Brown’s pikes, which he intended to hand out to freed slaves in order that they could fight; even John Brown didn’t think giving them rifles would be a racially-appropriate act. The pike is thus in itself laden with cultural meaning and seems a good choice on Holzer’s part. Nonetheless, in a conflict that saw an early (the Crimean war was a tad beforehand) and sustained use of the Minié ball, the first deployment of the Gatling gun, and the introduction of the Spencer repeating rifle, perhaps an example of some firearm-related artifact would have been suitable. Of course, it may be that the New-York Historical Society has few such weapons in their collection. They do, however, have a brass and leather cartridge box for the Spencer Carbine, as well as an 1863 Remington contract rifle. Nonetheless, these are mere quibbles. The book (especially if digitized) would be an excellent teaching tool.

Jeffrey P. Cain, Ph.D.

Sacred Heart University


Chronological Bibliography of Early Occult Detectives

Just in time for Halloween, past Clues contributor Tim Prchal (under his pseudonym Tim Prasil) is compiling a “chronological bibliography of early occult detectives.”


It looks like the wettest part of the week will pass through on Thursday. Friday morning will be unsettled, but the rest of the weekend looks good. The forecast as of 9 am Thursday is:

Friday: Rain in the morning, partly sunny shortly after noon. High 59, low 46
Saturday: Partly sunny. High 61 and low 46. Bring a warm jacket if you’re staying for Water Fire.

Sunday looks good for those heading home on that day.


NEw England Studies Area for PCA

Call for Papers – New England Studies. The 2015 Popular Culture Association Conference will be

held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from April 1-4. The New England Studies Area invites presentations

on any aspect of New England popular culture: Film; Literature; Politics; History; Music; Food; Sports;

Celebrities; Entertainment; Gambling/Casinos; Fishing Industry; Tourism, Economics, and numerous

other topics.

Boston-based topics such as the following might be of special interest: Films made in the Boston area;

Infamous figures such as Whitey Bulger or the Boston Strangler; Boston Marathon tragedy/”Boston

Strong”; Boston sports teams; and Boston politics

Please submit a proposal to only one area at a time. All proposals and abstracts must be submitted

through the PCA Database. See the website at Presentations should be 15-20 minutes

in length and lively in nature! The deadline for the submission of a 200-word abstract is November 1,

2013 (earlier than usual)! Acceptance will be earlier than usual as well to enhance your ability to seek

funding. Although all proposals should be submitted to the PCA Database directly, please also cc me at; include university affiliation (if applicable), telephone number, and

e-mail address. Graduate students welcome. Individual and full panel proposals are considered. Please

feel confident about attendance if you are accepted.

Carol E. Mitchell, Ph. D.

Springfield College

216 Weiser Hall


Ann Axtmann Wins NEPCA Book Prize

Indians and Wannabes: Native American Powwow Dancing in the Northeast and Beyond, by Ann M. Axtmann, Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2013.

Note: This book won NEPCA’s 2013 Peter Rollins Prize as the best book on a popular/American culture subject.

Axtmann In Ann M. Axtmann’s first published book, she explores Native American powwows, specifically in the Northeast. An independent scholar and trained dancer who performed with dance companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theater, Axtmann spent 14 years doing field work by attending powwows in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C. Her approach to powwows through a lens of dance and movement studies is novel, thorough, and complex. She breaks new ground in this area of scholarly inquiry by asking larger theoretical questions dealing with power and by studying how moving bodies create knowledge. Axtmann’s research seeks to “acknowledge the importance of what we viscerally live and express through the body” (5). She does this through explaining the historical practice of powwows as ways to celebrate cultural traditions and connects it to how powwows are still enacted today as a means of creating community. She also weaves in references to representations of powwows in popular culture shown through songs, television, novels, photojournalism, and film.

Through utilizing multiple methods including fieldwork, archival research, and analysis, Axtmann is able to provide a descriptive picture of the history and current performance of powwows by Native Americans and spectators. Specifically, she deals with how “dance is present in the history of powwow, space and time, transcultural exchange, and performances of race” (162). Axtmann explores the varied dance styles of powwows. She details the construction of powwow dancing through describing the arenas in which powwows are located, the formation of the circle to the relevance of the performance space, the physical elements of powwows, and the focus on the center of the arena. She claims powwows are “distinguished by the combined forces of circularity and exposed space, whether they are inside or outside” (57). Additionally, Axtmann explains the differences between male and female dance styles and how these relate to gender roles in Native American culture.

A key strength of Axtmann’s book is her discussion of participants and spectators of powwow dancing and how both work to create the performances as well as define them. Axtmann keenly describes the experience of watching powwows through a non-Native American lens recognizing that she will never be more than a temporary visitor to these events. She also works to clarify how non-Native American spectators become a part of the powwow culture. Through an explanation of the use of a front region, or an area open to everyone, and back region, or a space reserved only for Native Americans in the performance arena, Axtmann paints a clear picture of how people are both welcomed into the performance while at the same time held at a distance. Axtmann explains, “Even the casual visitor or tourist engages in exchanges with other powwow participants. And all powwowers act, interact, and give and take while together producing a ‘new phenomenon, original and independent’ in Indian country and the United States” (87-88). She tackles the question of what it means to “perform Indian” with fervor and sensitivity while exploring contemporary wannabes and hobbyists who are non-Native Americans seeking to be a part of the culture

The usefulness of Axtmann’s book for scholars in popular culture and American culture is multifaceted. Obviously, individuals teaching in areas of dance, movement and performance studies will benefit from the incorporation of such a thorough and engaging text in their classes. However, even those unfamiliar with dance but who study or teach in the disciplines of cultural studies, Native American cultures, and those exploring the enactment of race and race relations will find this text of great use. In order to be accessible to all readers, Axtmann does an exceptional job defining terms related to Native Americans and dance. Much like powwows of today cross the borders from Native Americans to spectators and from one tribal unit to another, Axtmann approaches powwows in a way that crosses disciplinary boundaries thus allowing readers to utilize this book in a variety of settings.


Andi M. McClanahan, Ph.D.

East Stroudsburg University of PA

2015-16 Genocide Research Grant Applications

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research invites applications from senior scholars for its 2015-2016 Center Research Fellow. The fellowship provides $30,000 support and will be awarded to an outstanding candidate from any discipline, who will advance genocide research through the use of the Visual History Archive (VHA) of the USC Shoah Foundation and other USC resources. The incumbent will spend one semester in residence at the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research during the 2015-2016 academic year. The chosen fellow will be expected to provide the Center with fresh research perspectives, to play a role in Center activities, and to give a public talk during his or her stay.

Award decisions for this fellowship will be based on the originality of the research proposal and its potential to advance research within the field of Holocaust and genocide studies.

The USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research distinguishes itself from other Holocaust and Genocide centers and institutes by offering access to unique research resources and by focusing its research efforts on the interdisciplinary study of currently under-researched areas. While the Center does encourage and foster innovative scholarly research from all areas of genocide studies, it is particularly interested in the following themes: the interdisciplinary study of mass violence and resistance; interdisciplinary research on violence, emotion and behavioral change; and digital genocide research.

USC is the home of internationally unique and growing research resources, which include over 53,000 audio-visual testimonies of genocide survivors and other witnesses contained in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, a Holocaust and genocide studies collection at Doheny Memorial Library with 13,000 primary and secondary sources, and a Special Collection containing private papers of German and Austrian Jewish emigrants from the Third Reich including the collection of the prominent German Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger.

To submit an application, please send a cover letter, CV and research proposal (max. 3 pages) discussing the topic, methodological approach and relevant USC resources by Monday December 1st, 2014 to  



Ryerson University Conference on Higher Ed, Media & Society

The Centre for Media and Celebrity (CMCS), in association with the Centre for Ecological, Social, and Informatics Cognitive Research (ESI.CORE), invites cross-disciplinary panel, paper and workshop proposals for the international conference Bridging Gaps – Higher Education, Media and Society. Accepted papers will be published as an open access edited book. Extended version of selected best papers will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.  Website  details:

Submission guidelines:

• 250-word abstract or panel / workshop proposal
• Include a title, your name, e-mail address, and affiliation if applicable
• Submit to conference Chair Dr. Louis Massey at
• Deadline for submission: November 30, 2014
• Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2015


RSS Unknown Feed

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers